coming out, family of origin, supportive, lesbian, homophobia, family relationships, family challenges
Victoria: Um, so, I came out to my family of origin um, in 2011. Yes, 2011. Um, and I guess in terms of my family of origin, well part of my family of origin. So, the first people I came out to were my mom--
Victoria: and my sister.
Victoria: And at that time, both were really overwhelmingly supportive. Really very, do what you need to do, be who you are. That kind of really supportive--I love you regardless of anything, any decision, whatever, this doesn’t change anything. Um, but then my mom, once the relationship, once I began to be in a relationship, it kind of changed. So it was interesting, I guess it was okay for me to be a lesbian as long as I wasn’t involved with someone, or it didn’t really feel real for her.
Victoria: My mom’s story has been really interesting, because I think politically and socially she sees herself as someone who’s very open, accepting, you know, um, uh, doesn’t harbour biases. And so I think my initial coming out for her was “okay, well this is okay, this is good” but then when it sort of “well I wanna bring my partner home”, well I wanna, you know, well the cousins, so my sister was getting married, uh, and I’m bringing my partner to the wedding, and of course my sister invited her. And at the same time, my mom’s like “oh well cousin so and so is coming and they are very Christian.” So the family’s coming out. And so it was interesting because I had a conversation with a colleague of mine here, when I started to see some of this push-back. And he had said, a gay male, he had said “your coming out is also your family’s coming out”--
Victoria: which I had kind of never really thought about. And I was like “just accept me, like I’m accepting me, and I’m good with this and I’m feeling good and I’m feeling happy and I have this wonderful person in my life!” But that was--so that was a little bit like, I just expected my mom to be like “okay great” but it has been very, very different since there was a real person attached to my coming out. You know what I mean?
Tara: Totally know what you mean. So would you say your family of origin, your mom your sister, are uh, involved in your life, and your daughter’s life right now?
Victoria: Absolutely, very much so. I should also point out, so I grew up close to my mom’s family. My dad passed away when I was in uh, university. And um, my mom is one of 8 siblings, and they all grew up kind of around the same area that we are from. So I grew up with 2 aunts that I would spend weekends at regularly, they are really really close to me, even in my adult life, that foundation we build when we were young. So actually probably about a year into the journey, my mom and my sister were the first ones to know, um and then once my relationship was established and we kind of said we want to be together and move forward, um, so I then decided to come out to my two aunts--
Victoria: and their husbands, and they were overwhelmingly, fabulously supportive. So much so to that point that my mom has kind of moved back here, and they have kind of shifted up here. They will ask me about my partner-
Victoria: They will send regards to her, they will you know, just make her a normal part of the conversation. Whereas for my mom, it’s like very hard for her to say her name, and my mom doesn’t want us staying at her house when we go to visit. Um, so there’s weirdness-
Victoria: I have to say. But my mom and my sister are very involved in our lives-
Victoria: And my sister is wonderfully open and supportive of me and my partner, but they’re just far away, so.
Tara: Right. When do you go visit, um, have you visited with your partner? Where do you stay?
Victoria: We stay at my aunt’s.
Victoria: We stay at my aunt and my uncle’s. Um, and my aunt and uncle live about 5 minutes from my mom-
Victoria: So when we go, we stay there. And interestingly enough, my daughter will stay with my mom. And um, it’s one of those things, it was really hard a couple years ago, because I just assumed, every time I go home, I get emotional because her baby is going home--
Tara: Yeah, sure.
Victoria: to see her mom.
Victoria: I had called and I said, “well we are coming, and my partner is coming, and she’s like, and her kids” and she said “well I don’t think there’s room here.”
Victoria: But the interesting thing was, when my partner and I had gone down, when she was just my friend, prior to asking my mother.
Victoria: We had stayed with my mom a couple years before. But my aunt and uncle, when I called and said “can I get a room at the inn?” They were like “absolutely!”
Tara: Oh great!
Victoria: So we stay 5 minutes away, and we all do things together, and it’s pleasant enough, you know? Yeah, we just don’t stay there.
Tara: It seems like a very workable negotiation, right?
Victoria: It’s the best we’ve got right now. But I’ve actually just recently had some conversation with my mom about that too--
Victoria: About how that’s hard for me-
Victoria: And hurts me, and she was honest about how she felt, and I was honest about how I felt, and that’s where we’re at right now.